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Visiting South Korean experts human cloning and stem cell research stress need for therapeutic cloning

FOR RELEASE: April 18, 2005

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Woo-Suk Hwang, one of Time Magazine's "100 People who Matter in 2004," and a professor at Seoul National University, and colleague Seung Keun Kang spoke with Cornell University faculty and students about their groundbreaking animal and human stem cell research. The two-day visit, April 18-19, hosted by Donald Smith, dean of Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine, was an extension of joint endeavors and academic exchange spanning a 30-year association between the two colleges of veterinary medicine.

Hwang and Kang told the overflow audience of the need to continue stem cell research for therapeutic cloning. This cloning is intended to create cells and organs that will be instrumental in the future for curing diseases such as spinal chord injuries, Parkinson's disease and cancer.

To quote Time Magazine: "A veterinarian by training, Hwang began to research cloning for a practical purpose: he wanted to create a better cow. But his work didn't stop in the barnyard. Hwang and his team at Seoul National University became the first to clone human embryos capable of yielding viable stem cells that might one day cure countless diseases. While such research raises troubling ethical questions, Hwang has already proved that human cloning is no longer science fiction, but a fact of life."

Hwang has also received the Presidential Award in Science and Technology for numerous years. This award is presented by the President of Korea as the outstanding scientific recognition of the country. Korea has issued a commemorative postage stamp highlighting his extraordinary achievements in health and science.

Sang Shin, associate professor of population medicine and diagnostic sciences at Cornell, has been instrumental in developing a strong relationship between Seoul National University and Cornell. Over the past 30 years, Shin has brought 76 scientists from Seoul National University to work side-by-side scientists at Cornell. This partnership has allowed both universities to gain knowledge and share expertise.

Shin and Smith plan to travel to Korea this fall to strengthen this relationship and advance veterinary science and to the stage for a formal agreement between the two colleges of veterinary medicine.

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Information on the visit and photos: /news/